Mayim Bialik recently reflected on a Saturday Night Live sketch in which her iconic character Blossom was portrayed with a large prosthetic nose — and now, the performer who played her is responding to her comments.
Melanie Hutsell, who parodied Bialik's titular sitcom character in a 1994 sketch, provided a statement to EW expressing her regret over the incident. "When we were preparing to do that sketch all those years ago, I was absolutely horrified that they wanted me to wear a prosthetic nose to play Mayim Bialik's character, Blossom. I knew it was wrong," Hutsell says.
She says once she shared her apprehension with her colleagues at SNL, she felt her job was on the line. "I remember so clearly that when I expressed that I did not want to wear the prosthetic nose for the sketch, I was told if I refused, I would be fired," Hutsell says. "And keep in mind, many of the people who had a hand in creating the sketch were Jewish. Although I had and have always had a strong moral compass, I didn't have the strength to refuse to do the sketch after I was told I would be fired."
The actress reflects that she wishes she had responded to the threat differently. "If I could go back and change history, I would have refused to wear the prosthetic nose and taken the risk of losing my job," Hutsell says. "That would have been the right thing to do."
Representatives for SNL did not immediately reply to EW's request for comment.
In Bialik's essay, the Jeopardy host said that she "felt ashamed" after the sketch, adding "Girls all over the world used to tell me that they had never seen a Jewish girl like me on TV before they saw me on Blossom. Many said they knew I was Jewish and it made them proud to be. That was so touching to me, and it still is… I wonder how those girls felt when they saw an actress playing me with a comically prosthetic nose."
In her statement, Hutsell also recalls an encounter she had with Bialik a decade later that allowed her to apologize for the sketch. "The whole situation haunted me for years, but thankfully I had an opportunity at an audition about ten years after the fact to look Mayim in the eye and apologize for what I did, to which she responded, 'I release you!'
I took that to mean that she accepted my apology and that meant more to me than she will ever know," she says. "Considering I married someone who is Jewish and have two children who are Jewish, the idea that I caused pain to a fellow actor who was a teenager at the time is not something I'm proud of, but I have had to forgive myself."
Hutsell also clarifies that she's publicly expressed her remorse in the past, including in a podcast episode that was released in July. "Well over a year ago, I did an interview with SNL co-workers Dana Carvey and David Spade on their podcast, Fly On The Wall," she says. "When the Blossom sketch was brought up, I took the opportunity as I have in many other interviews, to convey my sincere regret as it is something I have grappled with since it occurred."
On the podcast episode, Hutsell described the nose as "so offensive" and went into further detail about her encounter with Bialik. "We were sitting on a couch together, and she hadn't looked up from her script," Hutsell said on the episode. The SNL star recalled tearfully telling the actress, "Hey, I just wanna say something to you…I did an impersonation of you on Saturday Night Live.
I was not happy about certain things and I just wanna I wanna apologize to you and say that I'm sorry." Hutsell said on the podcast that Bialik then responded, "I release you!... I'm not gonna say that I didn't feel that back then… but you know, we can let this go."
"I think Mayim is one of the smartest and most incredible people on the planet- beautiful inside and out," Hutsell concludes in her statement to EW.